Trinity College is renowned for the quality of its food and its kitchens cater for three to four sittings a day with up to 300 eating per sitting, ranging from routine meals for around 900 students in residence to feasts and other formal functions. The Fellows were keen that both the quality of the food and the breadth of the menus for all meals should be maintained during the 12 month refurbishment.
“It was essential that the temporary kitchen was equipped to the same high standards as the permanent kitchens so that all those taking meals would not notice any difference,” recalled Dan Thomas of Bidwells, which managed the project. “We considered a number of options, including making use of facilities in nearby colleges, but the extended period of refurbishment meant this was not feasible. Our design team included specialists from GWP Foodservice Design Solutions and they were able to recommend PKL as being the best choice to provide a temporary kitchen,” he added.
The kitchen was customised to meet the College’s requirements and prefabricated at PKL’s purpose designed facility in Cheltenham. It was then and delivered to site as 29 separate cabins. A crane was used to lift these into place and partitions were removed to create an open plan space. As the entrance to the College dining room is 1.3m above ground level, the temporary kitchen is also raised to the same height and connected to the main building by a specially constructed flying walkway. The exterior of the kitchen has been finished in a colour selected by the College to blend in as far as possible with the surrounding buildings, which are Grade 1 listed..
Dan Thomas continued: “The project presented many logistical challenges, including negotiating Cambridge’s narrow central streets with large prefabricated buildings, but everything went very smoothly and we were very impressed with PKL’s support throughout the project. They were also very responsive in helping to fine tune the kitchen design once it was up and running, and have taken responsibility and financial risk for the equipment through the duration of the project.”
As well as managing the project, Bidwells is also providing architectural and structural engineering services as part of the refurbishment.